Raiders vs Mustangs: How history unfolded for Green Machine
THE Tweed Coast Raiders, the minor premiers and bench-mark team in the NRRRL all year, are through to next week's NRRRL grand final against Ballina.
The Raiders jumped the Mustangs early in Sunday's preliminary final, but things got a little close for comfort.
The Green Machine was nearly decommissioned by the persistent underdog, Murwillumbah, who, in similar vein to their reserve sides' incredible comeback victory earlier in the day, nearly snatched the game late.
But the Raiders, in front of a huge home crowd at Les Burger Field, Cabarita, held on to record a momentous 16-12 victory, with Tweed Coast's First Grade side now set to play grand final football for the first time in the club's short history.
Here's how it happened.
6-0, Raiders try- Tweed Coast Raiders open the scoring with a Jared de Thierry (7) try and Tahne Robinson (6) conversion.
12-0, Raiders try - Jack O'Brien (3) pulls the Raiders out to a solid early buffer with a second try as Robinson duly converts, with the home side looking far more comfortable in front a charged crowd.
12-4, Mustangs try - Jack Bishop calms Mustang nerves with a much needed settler.
Raiders 12, Mustangs 4
16-4, Raiders try - After hounding the resilient Mustangs' goal-line for the first 10 minutes of the second half, Raiders number-5 Justin King is finally able to pierce through after some good fortune, with a pass ricocheting off a Mur'bah defender creating passage for the first try of the second period.
16-8, Mustangs try - Jack Bishop (5) cuts the Raiders' lead to eight and gives the Mustangs hope, but the kick is not converted.
16-12, Mustangs try - A brilliant kick puts Mustangs number-12 Keelan Biltoft through and he scores to the sharp gasps of the pro-Raider crowd. The visiting fans can sniff another unlikely comeback victory.
Raiders win: 16-12.
At Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina, on Sunday, September 9
Ladies League Tag: Byron Bay v Marist Brothers
Under-18s: Ballina v Cudgen
Reserve grade: Marist Brothers v Murwillumbah
First grade: Ballina v Tweed Coast